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plecain

Somewhere over the rainbow

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Having spent almost two months at my newest addiction, striper fishing, it was time to head for the mountains.

The water's better than it was at this time last year, but still on the low side i thought.

The stream where I started was at 52°, so that was fine. That stream holds both stocked and wild rainbows. It's always interesting to see what you get.

csDSCN1589.jpg

Stocked, in my opinion.

csDSCN1590.jpg

Could go either way. I lean towards wild.

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Wild.

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There are also stocked browns. (I caught one lone wild one three years ago. None since.)

DSCN1601.JPG

Strangely, it took until I had caught 15 fish before I caught a brookie, a small wild one. I never did catch a stocked brook trout.

I said this stream was OK for water and cold enough. But, since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by the Wild in Gilead. Not good. It had rained a lot overnight, so the water was cooler and higher than it's been lately. When I got home I looked at the USGS gage report. It's been over 70° this week and was only cooler because of the overnight rain.

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Hopefully there are some springholes within.....

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What the....do I see dries flies hanging out of those mouths?  

Thought you was a dyed in the wool bugger fanatic.  Sheesh...first this new obsesion with the salt and now your tossing dries.  You feeling alright buddy? LoL

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3 hours ago, Swamptrout said:

What the....do I see dries flies hanging out of those mouths?  

Thought you was a dyed in the wool bugger fanatic.  Sheesh...first this new obsesion with the salt and now your tossing dries.  You feeling alright buddy? LoL

Feeling fine. Thanks. Maybe I'm just old.

The fish were pretty spooky, even the stockers. I tried several colors of buggers - black, olive, pink, yellow. Got a couple on pink, nothing on olive or yellow, a few on black.

Tried a couple streamers - nothing. Then I tried some dries and got some fish that way. Last, some more on muddlers. The only thing I didn't try was nymphs, but they're always my last resort.

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I like your assessment on the rainbows, very pretty.  Can't wait to fish for some of those gems.

I bought a few yellow buggers once, probably my least favorite bugger color, wish I never bought 'em lol. 

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2 hours ago, TightLinesMaine said:

I like your assessment on the rainbows, very pretty.  Can't wait to fish for some of those gems.

I bought a few yellow buggers once, probably my least favorite bugger color, wish I never bought 'em lol. 

 

Ive had some luck with yellow with warm water species. I've tied a few yellow/pink buggers to imitate some of the tube plastics for panfish and I've caught bass and sunfish with them. 

Plecain: I always love your photos and reports, you always me me jealous of the waters you fish. 

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19 minutes ago, Seamonkey84 said:

Plecain: I always love your photos and reports, you always me me jealous of the waters you fish. 

Thanks. I try to move around. I really don't like fishing the same small stream more than about once a month. I don't think it's good for them.

To find places like these, just drive around. If you see a spot that looks like it might have fish, stop and try it. If you're fishing a bigger stream and a small one empties into it, fish the small one. Most have wild fish of some kind.

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Just curious, now that the state no longer fin clips, how do you tell the difference between a stocked fish and one born in the stream?  (Not a rhetorical question - based solely on my own ignorance.)

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Just curious, now that the state no longer fin clips, how do you tell the difference between a stocked fish and one born in the stream?  (Not a rhetorical question - based solely on my own ignorance.)

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9 hours ago, Aldo said:

Just curious, now that the state no longer fin clips, how do you tell the difference between a stocked fish and one born in the stream?  (Not a rhetorical question - based solely on my own ignorance.)

It's just like catching wild and stocked brookies, you begin to pick up on the little things that in end add up to a whole lot in making a good decision.

Once you've caught enough wild rainbows telling the difference between a stream born and stocked fish begins to stand out in the same way.   It's quite easy to tell when they are smaller because NH does not stock any rainbow fingerlings.  Wild bows tend to also develope frosted white tips on the extremities of their fins too.  And then there's the fight.....Oh My God is there a difference....I think the term mini steal head is the way to best describe it. 

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9 hours ago, Aldo said:

Just curious, now that the state no longer fin clips, how do you tell the difference between a stocked fish and one born in the stream?  (Not a rhetorical question - based solely on my own ignorance.)

This could be a long thread. The wild vs. stocked question comes up often on fishing forums.

Telling the fish apart, assuming you're not a biologist with lab facilities to analyze the fish, can be tough. It's getting tougher. The hatcheries have been doing a much better job over the last few years of raising fish that look more and more like wild fish. The coloring is better, the tanks in the hatcheries are smooth plastic in place of the older rough concrete, etc.

The first thing is geography. If you're fishing a stream that hasn't been stocked recently or maybe ever, then the odds go up that you're catching wild fish. You have to consider, though, whether your stream connects in some way to a stocked stream or pond. Maybe a stocked fish migrated from there. 

The second thing is appearance. As Brad (swamptrout) says, it gets easier after you've caught a few thousand of them. It's still more art than science.

For me, it's mostly about the fins. The dorsal of wild trout is almost always perfectly formed. The dorsals in all three rainbow pictures in this thread look good, though. So, look at the other fins. Ragged or split fins usually mean stocked.

In brook trout, the white leading edge of the fins is very white in wild fish. In stocked ones they will usually have some black spots or streaks.

Then there's general appearance. Again, looking at the fish in this thread. The scales on the flanks of the 1st fish are slightly disturbed; some are missing. The other two fish show completely smooth scales.

Complicating matters is the practice Maine has of stocking lots of 1-3" fish. Look in the stocking report. Randall (tightlinesmaine) said in another thread that he's caught browns that were stocked as tiny fish and can tell them from the wild browns he's caught. Look at his 'invasives' thread.

Hope this helps. I guess the message is that unless you have expensive facilities it's still an art.

If you want to read more, use 'how to tell wild trout from stocked trout' in Google and follow the links.

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5 hours ago, Swamptrout said:

And then there's the fight.....Oh My God is there a difference....I think the term mini steal head is the way to best describe it. 

x2 on the fight! I couldn't believe the power on some of the first few wild 'bows I caught.  They are little rockets! an 7-8" wild rainbow will put a bend in a 5 wt. 

Best way to tell stocked vs wild is, stocked fish = missing scales, imperfect fins &/or fin clips (particularly pectoral and dorsal fins but can be any fin), also location.  Plecain hit the nail on the head. 

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15 hours ago, Aldo said:

Just curious, now that the state no longer fin clips, how do you tell the difference between a stocked fish and one born in the stream?  (Not a rhetorical question - based solely on my own ignorance.)

Aldo, not sure about rivers/flowing waters, but the state most definitely still fin clips fish (salmon in particular) in lakes and ponds.  I catch a lot of salmon with clipped ventral fins or sometimes clipped adipose fins. 

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So to a certain degree, it's an educated guess with a significant chance for error based on many factors, some of which may (or may not) have a direct link to actual science.  Got it.

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1 hour ago, Aldo said:

So to a certain degree, it's an educated guess with a significant chance for error based on many factors, some of which may (or may not) have a direct link to actual science.  Got it.

Yes, you've got it.

Sort of like going to your doctor and asking what's wrong with you. The answer is his best educated guess, with a non-zero chance of error. 

The science exists, but it's not much help when you're standing on a stream taking a picture of a fish.

 

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21 hours ago, plecain said:

Yes, you've got it.

Sort of like going to your doctor and asking what's wrong with you. The answer is his best educated guess, with a non-zero chance of error. 

The science exists, but it's not much help when you're standing on a stream taking a picture of a fish.

 

good analogy

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I know a spot in New Hampshire where my grandfather gets fish for his pond and I can tell you they look much different after being in our pond after a few years and the pond in front of his house there are fish that are born in the river that the pond dumps into and they look even more different I have pics of both 

IMG_0286.JPGthis one is from the river 

IMG_0343.JPGthis is from our personal pond

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The ones living in still water grow fat because they don't have to fight the current. They also get to go into deeper water and have a different food source so the colors will be different too.  besides that, was the one taken from the river in its spawning colors or are they like that all the time?

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Yes it was spawning colors they come up a shallow brook and bread right before the pond. The pond one lives in a mountain fed man made pond in my grandfathers property and we feed them pellets along with the big schools of shiners we have in the pond lots of bugs too the pond is maybe 20 ft at the deepest both fish are right around 20-21 inch. You are spot on on fatness river fish tend to be slimmer but the ones I catch out of the pond that the brook they breed in comes from they are never as big as our pond on the property. The ones on our property get fed well and have much more natural food then the other pond across the street 

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On July 1, 2017 at 6:53 AM, plecain said:

Feeling fine. Thanks. Maybe I'm just old.

The fish were pretty spooky, even the stockers. I tried several colors of buggers - black, olive, pink, yellow. Got a couple on pink, nothing on olive or yellow, a few on black.

Tried a couple streamers - nothing. Then I tried some dries and got some fish that way. Last, some more on muddlers. The only thing I didn't try was nymphs, but they're always my last resort.

According to Nate Hill, all the rivers up that way have been a bit slow this year to turn on with the increased amount of snowpack and all the rain.  I guess the saco has been pretty slow. 

On the plus side of things the lakes region area streams just crested 65 degrees this week and the fishing has been just outstanding.  Time to head up north!

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On 7/5/2017 at 9:28 AM, DirigoAngler said:

Nice day looks like. I headed up that way last weekend in what turned out to be a heavy rainy weekend. Fish were keeping a low profile.

Don't get turned off from a lack of sunshine at midday DA, those days with mid-afternoon showers most always clear off just enough for optimal cloudy conditions come early evening this time of year.   Plus the rain often washes a lot of food into the waters...fwiw.  I know it can often be a little sticky for a while...but just sayin'....

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On 7/8/2017 at 7:42 AM, Bigspencer said:

Don't get turned off from a lack of sunshine at midday DA, those days with mid-afternoon showers most always clear off just enough for optimal cloudy conditions come early evening this time of year.   Plus the rain often washes a lot of food into the waters...fwiw.  I know it can often be a little sticky for a while...but just sayin'....

Fair enough. I was expecting the cloud cover to get the fish in a more trusting mood. But nothing was hitting that day. Talked to about a half dozen other anglers and had the same report. Flows were on the high side that way. Hit Swift River yesterday and got a couple brookies before the crowds came out.

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